A Child Contact Centre is a safe, friendly and neutral place where children of separated families can spend time with one or both parents, and sometimes other family members. It is a child-centred environment that puts the needs of the children first.
The most important people in the Child Contact Centre are the children. We aim to create a warm, sociable atmosphere where you and your children can relax and enjoy yourselves. The Centre has an area with a variety of games, toys and books for children of all ages. Tea, coffee and other refreshments are provided. You may want to bring along some favourite toys, special drinks, or other things you might need such as nappies.
The Child Contact Centre is run by fully trained volunteers or staff. They are impartial, so they do not take sides. They work to a strict confidentiality policy and have all been through a criminal record check.
Visits are by referral. The referral can be made by yourself, a social worker, solicitor, family mediator, CAFCASS officer (formerly known as a court family welfare officer), or by a court order. The person making the referral fills out the online referral form and sends it to the Centre Co-ordinator. How often you come to the Centre depends on you and when the Centre is open.
It is advisable for you (the parent) and your child or children to come and see the Centre before your first arranged visit. This will help you get to know the Centre and the staff, and make your first visit easier.
Not if you don't want to. Parents are responsible for their children at all times while at the Centre so you will have to wait with your child until your ex-partner arrives. However the Centre staff and deal with the handover of your child so you don't need to meet your ex-partner.
As this is a special time for your children to spend with the parent they no longer live with, we ask that new partners do not attend the Centre. Also, please keep disagreements out of the Child Contact Centre. Remember that your child is hurting too. Make this a happy time for them.
Let your ex-partner and the Centre Co-ordinator know as soon as you can.
A Child Contact Centre is independent of the courts, social services or any statutory agency. We do not make verbal or written reports about visits, apart from the dates and times of attendance. The only exception to this is if we believe that a child is at risk, or if a member of staff, volunteer or Centre user is at risk of harm.
As few as possible! However the Centre is used by several families at the same time, so we have to ensure the safety of everyone and consideration for others:
Yes - for more information please see our Get Involved